Your Vodka Cocktails Won't Be The Same After Adding This Unique Ingredient

The launch of the sequel to "Sex And The City" ("And Just Like That...") likely brought memories to many of the vibrant cosmopolitans that were one of the food and drink centerpieces on the show. The vodka-based drink became a staple in the SATC days, and vodka cocktails in society at large have flourished with increasingly inventive takes since then.

Brunch-based Bloody Marys with all the garnishes (from celery and olives to full meals of sliders and steamed shrimp slid onto straws) have enjoyed popularity alongside expertly crafted espresso martinis, 007-inspired vodka martinis, and mules in their iconic copper cups. Given vodka's neutrality in both color and flavor, for artistically inclined mixologists (both experienced and amateur) the spirit offers the perfect blank canvas for creative cocktails. But if you think all possible combinations have been exhausted or all niche interests played to, think again: One unexpected addition can activate the potential of just about any drink.

Using charcoal to transform your favorite vodka cocktail

Whether you are using the much-hyped Old Bay Vodka for a Bloody Mary or spicy vodka martini, or you want to whip up the quintessential detox drink, including activated charcoal in your concoction is the way to add both visual interest and a unique flavor profile to any easy vodka cocktail at home.

Charcoal not only adds a subtle smoky flavor, but also darkens a drink in the way that only squid ink or blueberries have typically accomplished. Swapping out the brininess or sweetness of those more traditional ingredients allows you to capitalize on the earthiness and depth that comes with charcoal.

Steve Conlin of Ogden's Own Distillery, maker of Five Wives vodka, highlights the value of adding charcoal to a vodka cocktail outside of aesthetics and taste, explaining to Mashed that it "can be a great addition to the popular DIY trend of 'detox' drinks due to some of its natural properties."

That said, while adding charcoal can be a popular way to transform the look and taste of a simple vodka cocktail, there are health-related caveats relating to its absorptive properties. You shouldn't take any medication within four hours of consuming charcoal, for example, as Simon Difford explains in a balanced take on the pros and cons of charcoal-infused cocktails. But as long as you prepare and consume it responsibly, this ingredient is sure to set your everyday mixed drinks on fire.